For the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m blogging 26 days in April based on the alphabet and bringing you stories from the nonprofit Project Why.
Today, I bring you a story of one of the most dignified, efficient and generous souls at Project Why, without whom I cannot imagine this nonprofit running the way it does today.
Dharmendra first came to Project Why in 2005, as a dedicated humanities teacher for the secondary section. But despite his quiet manner and almost effacing ways, it soon became clear that his true calling is that of a social activist. He began spending more time with the community, deep in conversation with a small child or an elder. Anouradha Bakshi, the founder of Project Why, found in him a soul mate and kindred spirit in her quest for effecting change.
From solving small issues like neighborhood water fights, handling the ranting of a bipolar soul, to convincing a parent to spare the rod, to setting up an entire center, Dharmendra does it all in his quiet inimitable style. When two desperate women landed at Project Why, it was Dharmendra who suggested a residential option as part of a new children and women center. In the span of a few weeks the Project Why Women and Children Center opened its doors and today works with over 300 children and 140 women. He also discovered the forgotten children of agricultural labor on the banks of the river Yamuna, and set up a center for them.
Dharmendra runs a tight ship at the Madanpur Khadar center of Project Why and settles all issues with calm and dignity in an environment where fights break out over most problems.
What makes Dharmendra’s journey more remarkable is that he belongs to the Dalit community. Shamefully, in some parts of India Dalits are disrespected, and scorned. But Dharmendra has decided to stay positive, use his education as an asset, and share it with others. A first generation learner to obtain a degree, he was first employed with a multinational but soon felt stifled, because he wanted to make a difference. He’s done just that at Project Why!
I’ve worked with him twice now, and found him a joy to interact with: always smiling, gentle yet firm. He embodies Project Why: love, respect, candour, humour, and compassion.
To help him flourish, Project Why wants to send him to a course in Business English and Computer Literacy, which will cost about a 1000 USD.
Would you like to support Dharmendra? Would you like to become a Project Why Ambassador? If you cannot make it to New Delhi, could you donate to bring a smile to a child’s face? What would you say to Dharmendra?
To Donate to Dharmendra’s COURSE FOR Project Why, CLICK HERE.
To Contact Project Why, Click Here
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